Tours, activities, and attractions marketers face unique challenges within the travel space. As a travel vertical that often deals with last-minute bookers and walk-ups, and still invests heavily in out-of-home advertising solutions, online marketing can seem daunting, time-consuming, or unnecessary. However, there is a massive opportunity to capture online bookings: operators sold $44 billion worth of experiences through their own websites and online travel agencies (OTAs) in 2019, indicating that there are more dollars for the taking, and more ways to engage with your potential visitors.
Here, we lay out some quick wins to improve your digital marketing, enabling tour operators and attractions marketers to capture more direct and advance bookings.
Uplevel Your Display Ads
Display advertising is effective for every stage of the traveler path to purchase, as they move from research to booking, across desktop and mobile, targeting customers where and when they are online. The average traveler spends 13% of their time online conducting travel-related activities, and in the 12 weeks leading up to a trip, there are three times more experience searches than hotel searches.
If you’d like to take your display efforts one step further, consider using an HTML5 ad. This eye-catching format combats ‘banner blindness’ and, as such, can result in higher engagement and conversions. When we tested static ads against HTML5, we saw a 13% increase in clicks, an 8% increase in converters, and a 13% increase in the search rate on the customer’s website.
Immerse the Audience in Your Experience through Video
Attraction marketers are uniquely positioned to benefit from video because it shares their experiences in a quick, consumable, and immersive way. Video can be used to provide a glimpse into what visitors can expect from your attraction as they research their trip, target them to upsell a specific package while they are in-destination, or as a way to share their experience and recommendation to their friends and family afterward.
Additionally, many attraction marketers edit their videos down into smaller, bite-sized chunks, and then overlay different Call to Actions (CTAs) to test and see what drives a visitor to engage with their website and/or book.
Use Multiple Channels to Reach Travelers Where They Are
Having a mix of some or all of these channels provides greater opportunity to reach and engage your audiences, and as they jump from device to device, and from website to app to social platform. With the right partner, a multi-channel strategy doesn’t necessarily mean increased budgets and resources.
Think of digital marketing like investing, travel marketers need to diversify with a multi-channel approach and not rely too heavily on any one channel. Travelers aren’t using only one channel—they’re shopping for travel on multiple devices and websites, researching on social media, and so on. This also allows for generating improved insight into customer preferences, better targeting parameters for campaigns, and ongoing dialogue with customers as they move from planning to purchase. – Kurt Weinsheimer, Chief Solutions Officer, Sojern
To learn more about the basics of digital marketing and how to get the most out of each channel, download Sojern’s Guide to Digital Marketing for Tours, Activities, & Attractions.